Re­gions to the res­cue

Herald Sun - Property - - NEWS - PETER FARAGO

VIC­TO­RIA’S re­gional cities are ac­cept­ing more “eco­nomic refugees” as home­buy­ers seek to es­cape Mel­bourne’s ris­ing cost of real estate.

As de­bate rages on how to tackle hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity in Mel­bourne, plan­ning min­is­ter Richard Wynne re­cently of­fered mov­ing to a re­gional city as a so­lu­tion.

De­mog­ra­pher Bernard Salt said pop­u­la­tion growth was lift­ing in Bal­larat, Bendigo and Gee­long, and nearby smaller com­mu­ni­ties, partly due to Mel­bourne grow­ing at near­record rates for the past three years.

“In some re­spects, it’s over­spill — peo­ple not be­ing able to af­ford what they want in the city are mov­ing to a life­style area and com­mut­ing back or, in fact, chang­ing jobs,” Mr Salt said.

Im­proved free­way and train links in­creases the prospects for peo­ple con­sid­er­ing a move to the coun­try, open­ing up ar­eas be­yond the cities, Mr Salt said.

Bet­ter in­ter­net ac­cess was sweet­en­ing the deal.

But it’s not only an eco­nomic choice, Mr Salt said.

“Life isn’t al­ways about earn­ing as much money as you pos­si­bly can. Some peo­ple would trade that down for a lesser-paid job, but (also) to a lesser mort­gage and an in­creased qual­ity of life that they would see in a bet­ter prop­erty in Gee­long, or a gold­era prop­erty in Bal­larat.

“The more con­gested and more ex­pen­sive cen­tral Mel­bourne be­comes, it’s go­ing to en­cour­age more peo­ple to make the sen­si­ble choice of mov­ing to re­gional Vic­to­ria.”

The move­ment also brings pos­i­tive ben­e­fits for re­gional com­mu­ni­ties.

“They’re bring­ing new peo­ple, new spend­ing, new ideas. They’re bring­ing their city so­phis­ti­ca­tion with them,” Mr Salt said.

Buy­ers ad­vo­cate Cate Bakos said lower re­gional city house prices meant buy­ers could climb up the prop­erty lad­der with­out for­go­ing ac­cess to ser­vices they en­joyed in in­ner Mel­bourne, such as high­per­form­ing schools, a strong arts scene and foodie cul­ture.

“They’re mak­ing the choice to get a beau­ti­ful pe­riod home in an area that boasts most things they have around them for what they’d nor­mally spend on an apart­ment or a villa or town­house,” Ms Bakos said.

“We’ve got first-home buy­ers who were able to buy their dream home in Gee­long and just move right in and think about hav­ing their fam­ily.”

The 6 per cent an­nual growth in the me­dian house price for the City of Greater Gee­long matches the 5.5 per cent gain for greater Mel­bourne, but the $417,000 me­dian is more than $160,000 cheaper than Mel­bourne’s $580,000. Prices are more steady in Bal­larat and Bendigo, where the me­dian price is low to mid $300,000s.

The com­mute is be­tween 60 and 75 min­utes by train from Gee­long and Bal­larat, re­spec­tively, but by car isn’t great, Ms Bakos said.

“You need to get up su­perearly or have flex­i­ble work­ing hours to avoid that.”

Mark Whin­field, general man­ager of the War­ralily estate at Arm­strong Creek, said the life­style op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able close to Gee­long and the beach were at­tract­ing a new wave of Mel­bourne buy­ers.

Mr Whin­field said the num­ber of buy­ers from out­side Gee­long build­ing new homes at War­ralily had al­most tripled in the past three years.

“Pur­chasers from out­side Greater Gee­long now rep­re­sent a third of War­ralily sales and we ex­pect this trend to con­tinue,” he said. “The life­style op­por­tu­nity, in­clud­ing liv­ing in a new home in a neigh­bour­hood that will of­fer ev­ery­thing ... holds high ap­peal for pur­chasers re­lo­cat­ing from Mel­bourne.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.